Talking to my friends who run local businesses & restaurants it became clear that the readjustment to digital was neither straightforward nor clear. Physical stores are exactly that, physical. When the quarantine and social distancing hit, it became near impossible for restaurants to maintain their ordinary business. However, there was still a strong passion in the city to #supportyourlocal, just harder to direct the efforts when physical visits are less of an option. The citizens thus want to support their favorite businesses from the social distance of their home. Giftcards are a great way to do that for a multitude of reasons.
- It gives immediate cashflow/liquidity to the business
- It's a transaction "you might've done anyway", you're simply advancing the purchase
- And this is important, it gives the customer something to look forward to when all of this is over, a form of delayed gratification
What it does
PresentkortUmea.se is a simple site that aggregates all of the local businesses that provide giftcards, and their different ways of purchasing said giftcards. To be added to the directory of businesses is 100% free.
How I built it
I spent a weekend coding it using Wordpress as CMS and a Vue.js frontend utilizing the WP REST API.
Challenges I ran into
There have been few challenges so far. Communicating clearly towards the businesses themselves is always tricky, and has been in this case as well. The latest challenge to solve was how to integrate individual Stripe payment accounts for each business to use on the platform separately.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
The project was quickly shared across the local community organically. The municipality accounts and politicians picked up on it quickly and reshared without any advertisement of sorts. The initiative was also very well received by the local businesses from the feedback I've gotten.
What I learned
Coordination of efforts could've been better. Adding a critical amount of content before letting end users access the site would've given an even better initial response.
What's next for Presentkort Umeå
Soon to be released is the option to make the purchase of giftcards directly from the site. The transaction is performed between customer and the business itself with no middle-man and no fees whatsoever. This gives the business a great way to handle giftcards that previously didn't have method to sell these online, all for free.
We're also expanding into new cities across Sweden as I've gotten requests to start sister sites from nearby cities. Essentially we'll build a network of local giftcard sites.
Efforts will also be made to improve SEO and usefulness of the site continuously‚ as time allows.